The early Christian claim that Jesus of Nazareth was God completely changed the course of Western civilization. What exactly happened, such that Jesus came to be considered God?
To ask this question is to delve into a fascinating, multilayered historical puzzle - one that offers a richly illuminating look into the origins of the Western worldview and the theological underpinnings of our civilization. This fundamental historical question and its complex answer speak penetratingly to the spiritual impulses, concerns, and beliefs that have played a seminal role in our world, even as they reveal the foundation of history’s most global religious movement, and fresh insights into the Western world's single most influential human being.
Tackling all of these matters and more, Great Courses favorite Professor Ehrman returns with the unprecedented historical inquiry of How Jesus Became God. In 24 provocative lectures, Professor Ehrman takes you deep into the process by which the divinity of Jesus was first conceived by his followers, demonstrating how this conception was refined over time to become the core of the Christian theology. A distinguished scholar of Christianity and New York Times best-selling author, Professor Ehrman develops the inquiry with meticulous research and in-depth analysis of texts. In these lectures, Ehrman reveals that the theological understanding of Jesus as God came about through a complex series of factors and events, each of which must be understood in order to grasp this most extraordinary and historically pivotal story.
In the enthralling inquiry of How Jesus Became God Professor Ehrman lays bare the diverse elements that combined to produce both an astonishing true-life story and one of history’s most significant developments. Join a renowned biblical scholar in grappling with this pivot.
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It's the best lecture I have heard.
There is no comparison.
He was very objective and unbiased.
No, it was a lecture.
This is an excellent lecture from a historical perspective on how Christianity developed, and evolved. This is not a fundamental view, but a historical view.
- Bob Watson
Argument Is Not History
I would recommend this book to a mature friend with the time to investigate more deeply. The book consists of numerous assertions by a presumed authority, relying on ancient texts. It is therefore easy to buy into bold but poorly supported assertions.
Unlikely. I am rather put off by the Professor's personal agenda.
The performance could have been improved by a more balanced presentation of views, and by a less strident argumentative tone. I felt at times that Dr. Ehrman could relax his voice a bit.
The presentation compelled me to look more deeply into the scriptures and history of the time, and to reflect on assumptions I may have made without deep examination. Having done so, I am more convinced, not less, that Jesus was unique in history of the world because of who he was, not because of what others wanted him to be. Were it merely a matter of wishful thinking, as Erhman suggests, the story of Jesus would have simply disappeared. But his followers saw and believed, and because they saw, they were even ready to die for what they knew to be true.
Dr. Erhman refers to Simon ben Kosiba early in the presentation as a messiah claimant living not long after Jesus who exhibited many of the same indicators of divinity that Jesus possessed. Having set up a list of messiah-like actions, including the performing of miracles, Erhman then dramatically identifies the messiah claimant not as Jesus, but as a messiah contender, presumably Simon ben Kosiba, the only other Jewish identified self-proclaimed Messiah of the time. The problem is that the depiction is false and the parallels greatly overdrawn. Simon ben Kosiba was a militant, with a political agenda, and who's so-called miracles were not as recorded or numerous as those of the Christ. In another distortion, Dr. Erhman states that Jesus was also a political rebel with a political purpose, and killed for political reasons. This is simply false. The consistent message of all the sources is that Jesus renounced and denied a political kingdom. Jesus himself stated his Kingdom was not of this world, and he explicitly renounced the use of force.
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